Macy's boosted sales 5.5% in the most recent quarter, despite a variety of hurdles ranging from the fiscal cliff to the weather, a feat accomplished with a focus on personalizing the shopping experience that's largely been driven by empowering the company's employees. "If we keep the experience worthwhile, consumers will come back. ... Our associates are our most powerful tool," Macy's director of consumer insights and strategy Cheryl Berinato said at Retail's BIG Show last month.

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